The extraordinary cargo buildup at the Port of Oakland has been eased up with the introduction of new Saturday and Sunday gates, as informed by the port authority.
Increased trade volumes between US and Asia along with congestion in Southern Californian ports and labor-management negotiations have been among the key factors that caused the bottlenecks.
Over 1,000 U.S. import containers have moved out of its marine terminals every weekend for the past month; cargo that would otherwise move weekdays when terminals and harbor truckers strain to manage soaring volume, the authority added.
“The weekend moves are only a fraction of what we send out the gates Monday-through-Friday so they’re not the complete answer to our big buildup,” said Port Maritime Director John Driscoll. “But every little bit helps while we’re working to keep cargo flowing.”
For weekend openings to take place customs inspections must be arranged to clear cargo for pick-up. In addition, extra cargo handlers are needed to load containers onto truck trailers. Clerks have to be hired, as well, to process imports before they’re sent out the gates.
“Terminal operators, private-sector firms working under leases from the Port of Oakland, are expected to continue moving containers on Saturdays and Sundays while demand persists. That could be another month as U.S. shippers import cargo before Lunar New Year factory shutdowns in Asia,” the release from the port reads.
The largest marine terminal operators at the port have opened weekend gates since Thanksgiving.
According to the latest data from the port, three-to-nine vessels anchor in San Francisco Bay every day awaiting berths and it sometimes takes truck drivers several hours to get through weekday terminal gates.